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The High Cost of Friendly Skies: Maj. Gen. Stephen Lorenz, a top Air Force budget official, says USAF is in the hole by about $800 million this year—all due to fuel increases. The big gas guzzler is Operation Noble Eagle, the domestic air defense activity now ending its fourth year. Noble Eagle now has a total annual price tag of $1.2 billion—or about  $100 million per month.